With the Northern Hemisphere summer school holidays starting, expatriates in Asia will most likely be heading back home, travelling great distances by air. Every time we fly we are also increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
My daughters school, United World College South -East Asia (UWCSEA) in Singapore has identified a carbon-offsetting and tree-planting programme which benefits their longest-standing Global Concern community, Lamdon School in Ladakh. The plan is to plant up to 12,000 Poplar trees. These will be felled and used as structural timbers in traditional Ladakhi houses.
This project started in 2007, since then 7,000 trees that have been planted over the past 5 years are doing very well. They are being irrigated by the solar powered pump and have a permanent attendant looking after them. The second major phase of the forestation project is set to begin in a few days. The 50,000 liter reservoir located on the highest point on campus is now being filled by the powerful pump that is drawing water from a new dedicated well. This will enable them to plant an additional 7,000 poplar trees, a major vegetable garden and fruit tree grove and also supply drinking water to both the boys and girls hostels.
One tree will absorb well over 300 kg of CO2 as it grows and matures. This means that three Lamdon poplars will absorb the CO2 you produce in flying 2,000 miles. Eleven poplars will get you a long way towards “carbon-neutral” from Singapore to London Heathrow and back!
Once they mature, the trees will provide a major source of income for Lamdon School, year on year helping to secure its charitable status and provide a first class and free education to those who cannot afford to pay.
If you would like to compensate for the CO2 generated from your air travel you can calculate how much you would need to donate to UWCSEA Trees for Travel by clicking on the link http://www.uwcsea.edu.sg/uploaded/images/Microsites/Carbon_Compensation_Scheme/LadaklTreeCalculator.html
It costs around $5 to plant a tree in Ladakh. Once you have calculated your required compensation or if you would simply like to make a donation please make a cheque payable for that amount (in Singapore dollars) to UWCSEA, adding your postal address and ‘Trees for Travel’ on the back.
This may seem less relebvant if you live outside of Singapore however, you could send by money order through Western Union www.westernunion.sg And if that seems all a bit difficult, I hope that this peice at least motivates you to look at some form of carbon-offset within your own sphere.
And if you do live in Singapore, it’s not just about supporting a UWCSEA iniative – the World Wildlife Fund just released a report delcaring Singapore has the largest carbon-footprint in all of Asia-Pacific – its about doing the right thing for the environment and helping to balance our excesses.
Post cheques to:
Trees for Travel, UWCSEA
1207 Dover Road, Singapore 139654.
Receipts for payment will be posted to the address on the cheque.
Thank you very much for your consideration and donation. If you would like more about the UWCSEA tree planting scheme in Ladakh please read the information below.
Our trees are being carefully sited on campus so they provide shade in summer, and act as a windbreak in winter for the school hostels, making a huge difference to the lives of Lamdon’s boarders, many of whom are orphans. If we keep on planting, we hope to have a benefit on Lamdon campus’ local climate, making it a haven of peace in a very harsh land.
Each year, UWCSEA and Lamdon students – together with other international visitors to Lamdon – will see successive years of plantings and be inspired to see the difference they can make by their actions.
By contributing to this scheme, you too can both offset your carbon footprint and help to maintain a traditional way of life in a unique and very special place – Ladakh!
Money contributed by UWCSEA to the Lamdon Trees project so far has financed
- the drilling on campus of a 50 metre deep well;
- the purchase and maintenance of solar panels and a solar powered well pump;
- water storage facilities and piping to trickle irrigate the trees and supply school buildings with a water supply.
In future, funds will be needed to increase Lamdon’s ability to pump and store water. There are plans in hand for enlarging the reservoir, extending the system of piping, clearing and preparing land for a further 10 -12,000 trees. In 15 years we estimate that Lamdon’s campus will be ‘full of trees’, but this is not a problem because that is when our first planted trees, our ‘Class of 2008′ will be ready for harvesting. And so we anticipate that this scheme can continue to trap carbon and benefit the community indefinitely!